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Police chief reprimanded for his comments to the media

Police Chief of Pirkanmaa Police Department used a poor choice of words when he called demonstrators a band of hooligans, Deputy-Ombudsman Jussi Pajuoja found in a recent decision.

This decision is related to the so-called Kiakkovieras event, which was organised in connection with the President's Independence Day reception in Tampere last year.

On 7 December, the police department held a press conference concerning the incident. At that time, the Police Chief said that rather than a demonstration, the incident was about a band of hooligans who had got together with the specific intention of causing trouble.

Pajuoja notes that police officers in their official duties should not use the type of language that is acceptable in such forums as the mass media. Strictly appropriate conduct is expected of a police chief, ensuring that his attitude cannot be interpreted as biased.

No reason to suspect the neutrality of pre-trial investigations

Complaints with the Parliamentary Ombudsman were filed by seven persons, who criticised the Police Chief's statement in particular. They also questioned Pirkanmaa Police Department's ability to credibly conduct a neutral pre-trial investigation of the incident after issuing statements of this nature.

The Deputy-Ombudsman saw no reason to suspect that the police department had not conducted appropriately the pre-trial investigations initiated as a result of the incident.

The full text of Deputy-Ombudsman Pajuoja's decisions no 5448, 5449, 5450, 5532, 5726, 5727/4/2013 and 141/4/2014 (in Finnish). Further information is available from Principal Legal Adviser Juha Haapamäki, tel. +358 (0)9 432 3334.

Police action during the actual demonstration not inappropriate

In his decisions issued in March, Deputy-Ombudsman Pajuoja found no reason to suspect that the police had used excessive force or otherwise violated the law in connection with the Kiakkovieras event. Four complaints had been received on this matter.
The full text of one of Deputy-Ombudsman Pajuoja's decisions (in Finnish), no 5651/4/2013